Sausage casing alternatives-complete guide

Sausages usually come in different casings that make the cooking of sausage easy while a few come with no casing at all. Some casings are edible while others are not edible at all and should be peeled off properly to ensure that some parts of the casing are not left and also to avoid some portion of the sausage going into waste.

So what are these casing alternatives?

There are two major types of casing, natural casing and artificial casing. Most natural casings are edible and should not be removed when eating while some of the artificial casings are not edible and should be removed before the sausage is eaten.

Different types of casings are discussed in this article in order to direct people on the specific casings that can be eaten and those that cannot be eaten. It explains the nature of the casing, how it appears and gives the characteristics that make it unique from different casings.

Comparison table for natural and artificial casing

Allow a deep smoking processAre not permeable to smoke
Are completely edibleSome are not edible.
They have a natural flavorDo not have flavor
Produce a bad smell if not well taken care ofDoes not require much attention as they do not go bad easily
They are easy to breakThey do not break easily
They are usually very weakMost artificial casings are very strong
Their size is not uniformThey have a uniform size
It is very difficult for them to shrink and they need to be stuffed with a lot of meat for them to have a regular shapeThey normally shrink to fit the meat they encase
They require a refrigerator to be storedThey can be stored without refrigeration

Types of casings

There are two broadly types of casings for sausages, that is natural casing and artificial casing. These are further divided into several kinds such as vegetarian sausage casing, plastic casing, and collagen sausage casing.

a. Natural sausage casing is mainly made from the intestines of animals, stomach, cecum, esophagus, and bladder. They are edible and because they are made from edible materials. They are mostly curved and take the shape of the sausage. They break so easily therefore handling them is very challenging. They are soft and can be chewed so easily. Natural casing should be stored in a refrigerator and taken care of because they go bad very fast.

b. Artificial or synthetic sausage casings are mainly made from cellulose and viscose. These materials are not edible and should not be eaten. They are very strong and have a very regular shape. Artificial casings are very cheap because they are made from materials that are easily available in the immediate environment such as trees and other sources of artificial sausage casings. They have a very long lifespan because they are made from materials that do not go bad easily.

Some other kinds of casings include;

i) Collage casing for sausage.

It is an artificial casing that comes from animal products that are processed. Those that are not too thick are edible. They are mostly made from tendons of pig and cow, bone and hide. They are mostly used because they do not break easily and are much cheaper than other casings. It is best when making uniform sausages in terms of shape and size. The casing can be used with both smoked and fresh sausages.

ii) Plastic casing

It is an artificial casing that is usually removed after cooking. It is impermeable therefore not suitable for smoked sausages. It is not edible. It comes in different varieties such as polythene or nylon. Some shrink while cooking, making the sausage retain some of its moisture.

iii) Vegetarian casing

They have a very long life when stored properly. It is mainly from plant products. They are very delicate and should be handled with a lot of care.

iv) No casing

Sausages can be made without any casing. If one is not sure of the specific type of casing that should be eaten then they can pick the sausage that has no casing at all.

v)  Cellulose casing

It is a type of casing that is made from natural fibers like wood chips, cotton liners and other plant fibers.


i. The casing is inedible

ii. The casing is very strong

iii. Can be smoked in case there is some presence of moisture.

iv. The casing is very stable.

vi) Cellophane casing

This casing is made from a stretchable soft paper that looks like cellulose film. Its micro crystals are placed longitudinally so that the fiber can have a longer stretch. It is very cheap and can break easily when improperly used.

Factors to consider when choosing the type of casing for your sausage

sausage casing alternatives

1. Availability

Choose the casing that is readily available in your environment so that you do not waste too much time looking for the specific casing that you may not easily get.

2. Customers’ preferences

Some customers may be in need of sausages that have edible casings then you will easily use natural casings.

3. Shape of sausages you want to make

Sausages that have a regular shape are made with artificial casings while natural casings take the shape of the sausage.

4. Durability

Natural casings are not durable when not stored well because they are majorly animal products that go bad with time while artificial casing are very durable and do not require a complicated technique to store them.

Frequently asked questions

Question 1: Why do most people prefer using artificial casing despite the fact that some of them are inedible?


Artificial casings are very cheap and readily available, therefore, most people prefer using artificial casing over natural casing. The fact that they give the sausage a regular shape attracts more people to use them.

Question 2: How can a soaked casing be stored for future use?


Any casing that remains can be stored for future use even if it was already soaked by simply running your fingers down the casing to remove any excess water, coat them with sea salt and store them in the fridge until when they are next required.


There are so many casing alternatives that can be used for sausages. When buying sausages from the market one has to know the different casings that exist so that they can purchase the exact one they need and how they can handle different casing.

I would recommend consumers to buy more natural casing if they need to eat sausages with their casings. They do not have to confirm the materials used to make the casing because most natural casings are made of edible materials.

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